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Very important lessons learnt from Devyani Khobragade incident: US

The Indo-US diplomatic crisis that erupted in 2013 with the arrest of woman diplomat Devyani Khobragade was not only a “low point” in ties but both sides learnt “very important lessons” from it, a top official of the outgoing Obama administration has said.

“The diplomatic crisis that unfolded within weeks of my coming in, surely was a test for both countries. I think, not only it was a low point but more importantly it was a learning moment for both countries. We drew very very important lessons on both sides from that,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told PTI.

Sharing some of these lessons, Biswal said first lesson learnt was that one cannot allow for or afford for complacency to creep in to a relationship, which is as important for the US-India relationship.

“It requires constant attention to issues large and small. Two, you cant allow small issues to fester or go unattended. Three, you have to operate in each other countries in a way that is consistent with and in accordance with the legal and regulatory acts of that country,” she said.

Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer was arrested on December 12, 2013, in the US when she was Indias Deputy Consul-General in New York on visa fraud charges and for allegedly providing false declarations in a visa application for her maid. She later was released on a USD 250,000 bond. She left the US after getting full diplomatic immunity.

The incident had triggered a diplomatic row between the US and India.

“What we are trying to do is to make sure that we are in compliance and two that if a problem arises that we act quickly to engage our counterparts and work through to resolve. Because when those communication streams breakdown and when we are not acting aggressively to manage these issues thats when you leave room for the crisis to escalate and to take on different order of magnitude,” Biswal noted.

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